What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the means of increasing the number of visitors to your website while ensuring that the traffic you receive is relevant to what you provide. SEO’s focus is getting traffic organically, without paying for it like you would a PPC (pay per click) campaign.
SEO is a very diverse topic that breaks down into many smaller subjects. Since every website is unique, the process will vary, but you will see results.
How does SEO benefit your business?
If you have a new website or already have one established, you need to guarantee people can find it. The old saying, “If you build it, they will come” does not apply anymore. You must let the web know you are there, or your potential clients will go to your competitors without ever knowing you exist. Search engines dominate the internet and are effectively the gateway to finding content online, as the old ISPs (internet service providers) used to be in the 1990s-2000s. Unless you already know the business or brand you want to see, you have to search for what you want.
Search engines are the information brokers of the web, and this is the model that has formed from the need for any user to get what they seek. Some of the elderly even consider search engines to be the internet.
If you would like to stand out on the internet, be seen by the right audience, get the traffic or revenue you desire, SEO will give you the desired results.
Types of SEO
As the internet has expanded, evolved, and matured, standing out or even being seen has gotten increasingly complex. Search engines are always changing with the web to serve their customers and efficiently give them what they seek. They are the gateway to the internet now for the most part, so they must be happy with what you provide, to be eligible to receive traffic. Due to this, new requirements are often added as well as new means to identify what content is relevant and of good quality. If you do not keep up, or even make efforts to improve your site, you will be left behind, and your competitors will reap the traffic instead.
We will break down the significant areas of SEO that you must implement to see results and grow your business.
On-Page is a fundamental type of SEO that effectively ensures the web page follows guidelines for its content and structure, so its purpose and content can be understood. The following are a few examples of things that must be done to achieve your goal of a quality website:
- Your page’s title is the first thing that will be seen by search engines, in your browser tab, and bookmarks. It should be something that represents the content accurately and gets users interested.
- Your page header, or H1, will first be seen when you access the page and has the same importance as the title. The title and H1 are usually the same content.
- Ensure that your headings are appropriately structured for all your content. This means H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6, as needed for both users and screen readers can understand the page content and not get lost.
- Images should have SEO-friendly file names and should also contain alt text (alternate text, also referred to as “alt descriptions,” “alt attributes,” or even “alt tags”). Adding this bit of descriptive text assures that search engines and visually impaired people using screen readers can understand it. The alt text will also be shown if the image cannot be loaded. The images’ file size should also be reasonable, not huge, and optimized for viewing.
- Ensure the page has an excellent UX (user experience) presentation so that everything is easy to understand and consume. Users and search engines will not appreciate a hard-to-read website.
Off-Page SEO focuses on your relationship with others on the internet, your exposure, and also popularity. The process involves promoting your site through social media and other online communities, as well as getting other high-quality websites to link to you as an authority so that you can build your rankings up. Lastly, having others mention you, but not necessarily link to you, demonstrates your exposure, and is considered brand awareness, which will positively impact your off-page SEO.
Technical SEO is the part of SEO where you ensure your site as a whole can be appropriately seen and crawled by search engines. It involves what its name implies, the aspects that are not as visible, that are more “under the hood” of the site. A few actions that fall into the technical SEO category are:
- Create and maintain a robots.txt file so search engines know what they can and cannot access. It also can direct them to your sitemap.
- Introduce your site to search engines via their SEO website portals to know who owns the site and ensure they are aware it exists. This allows them to give you feedback, such as crawling errors and problems with web pages.
- Ensure you have a user and SEO friendly page design, as well as friendly URLs. By friendly, we mean the URL should adequately describe the content and give context if needed, the same as the title of the page.
- Ensure the site loads fast on mobile and desktop. This requires speed optimization, which is an entire process in itself.
To read in further detail about this type of SEO, you can visit our Technical SEO page.
This area of SEO focuses on your visibility in your local area, rather than the world at large. If your goal is to serve your local community or the cities surrounding it, you need to ensure these practices are correctly implemented. Here are a few of the essential things to review:
- Be sure to have your business name, location, and contact clearly listed on all of your site’s pages.
- Add the necessary schema metadata to your site, such as Local Business.
- Ensure you are present on trusted website directories such as Yelp, Foursquare, and others where customers will look to hire you.
- Do off-site SEO by advertising in your local community.
To read in further detail about this type of SEO, you may visit our Local SEO page.
Content SEO can be considered part of the On-Page SEO. However, it can also be regarded as a separate type of SEO. Its focus is on having excellent, high-quality content for your visitors to read while staying relevant to their topic of search. The following list is what is necessary for content SEO:
- Keywords research. This is the process of finding keywords relevant to your content. You will incorporate these into what you write to tell search engines to show your content to those searching for them.
- Ensure your content is long and thorough enough for users to get the information they seek and search engines to know the subject and context.
- Linking to other reputable websites to provide related information about a topic if needed.
- Use schemas and other structured content to give search engines more insight into what you are writing.
Mobile is a subset of other SEO types targeted at the mobile visitor and their experience. Since over 60% of search is now performed on mobile, this can make or break your website. Mobile is now a higher ranking factor for search engines than desktop. Your mobile SEO checklist:
- Your site loads fast on a mobile device. The point to the use of the process of speed optimization.
- Your website is user-friendly and easy to use (UX) on mobile devices
- Your site does not have intrusive pop-ups or things disturbing the user or slowing them down. Since there are limited resources and screen space, anything that interrupts their experience can cause them to bounce out and make your site feel low quality.
eCommerce SEO is also a subset of other SEO types but explicitly targeted for an eCommerce store. Here are aspects unique to eCommerce you must take into account:
- Ensure you have your homepage and category pages properly optimized in On-Page, Content, Technical, and Local SEO if needed.
- Optimizing your product pages based on your keywords (Content SEO).
- Optimizing all visuals of the pages, including images and videos.
- Add schema metadata to the products, offers, and related information.
- Promoting your store on social media (Off-Page and Local SEO)
- Getting others to link to you for promotion and authority (Off-Page and Local SEO)
- Blogging on your store to create content and demonstrate how your products provide a solution for your customer.
An SEO audit is the process of deep diving into a website, across the whole SEO spectrum to retrieve the data to give insight into ways to improve. The key to good SEO is knowing what steps to take to get the most out of your website. Thus, audits should be performed regularly to ensure your website does not lose ranking due to algorithm changes that sometimes occur in the search engines. If you measure and keep track of your site’s performance, you will be in a better position to beat your competitors and stay ahead.
Core Web Vitals
No matter the type of SEO you are focusing on, they all intersect with Google’s Core Web Vitals. These are the metrics defined by Google, to measure site performance and the user experience. These metrics focus on:
- Loading with the Largest Contentful Paint metric
- Interactivity with the First Input Delay metric
- Visual stability with the Cumulative Layout Shift metric
You can read more here on Core Web Vitals.
This article has explained the basics of SEO and its advantages and fundamental requirement for your business. We specialize in various types of SEO services and are prepared to do what it takes to make your business stand out.
Once you’re ready to see measurable results, make an appointment below so we can start working together. We love SEO and are happy to help your company grow!